Sallie’s Book Reviews blog interviews authors about their books. Sallie suggested to Mary that I do an interview with her so I did!
Tell us a little about yourself and your background
My name is Zoe Lambros, I’m Greek and an artist. I was born in Farsala (near Larissa) on October 12, 1928 to Helena and Nicholas Lambros. I’m not living in Greece because after the war ended, we left in quite a hurry. Eva and Henry, being Germans, where not safe and I didn’t want end up in another war. I had enough of fighting and death. The civil war was about to erupt and they were also rounding up collaborators. It wouldn’t be long before they would target Eva and Henry (he’s like a brother to me and used to be Eva’s guard).
We just had to escape from Greece and it was harder than I thought. I now live in Australia with Eva and Henry is here as well. Life isn’t easy as a refugee but then life is never easy. I have three brothers: Mihali, Thieri and Theodore. They were killed in the war with the Italians in 1940 on the Albanian border. My father died in 1941 trying to take two Australian soldiers across the gorge to re-join their comrades but he never made it back. He did save the Australian soldiers. My mama was murdered by SS Major Hans Muller in retaliation for the Resistance killing his soldiers. I joined the Greek Resistance to fight the Germans just like legendary Sara Yeshua.
Eva, my wife – I can say that, right? That’s what she is to me even if society doesn’t accept us for who we are. That’s what I call her. So I’ll refer to her as that, if you don’t mind. Eva and I managed to survive the occupation of my village even though Eva was shot by that rat bastard Reinhardt. It’s okay though, he’s dead. I killed him. I had to because he shot Eva.
Do you have a nickname?
My brother Michael, he was the oldest, called me ZoZo – shouldn’t nicknames be shorter? I didn’t understand that. Evy calls me Zo. Not sure why the ‘e’ is missing since it doesn’t take that long to say it! My friend Earl calls me ‘Stretch’ or ‘Red’ – he has a weird sense of humor.
How did it feel when you first realised that you had tender feelings for someone that you hated so passionately? I don’t imagine that it would have sat comfortably with you, knowing that anything you feel, you feel strongly.
I was confused. Very confused; I wasn’t sure what I was feeling other than trying to survive each day. It was strange to actually care about this woman who I vowed to kill. I cared whether she smiled or if she was ill. I shouldn’t have but I did. I had never been in love before – not with a boy and certainly not with a girl so this was all very new to me. It came at a very inopportune time; who falls in love in the middle of a war with the enemy? Of course, I did. Fates or God was laughing at me. I was in “Heavy Like” so fast I didn’t even realise it.
Did you wrestle with this new feeling which was incompatible with your existing attitude towards Eva and was it a conscious choice to allow that feeling to
Thinking was not in the equation. Things were moving so fast; we had a job to do and every day was just trying to survive and not get caught. I don’t know what I was feeling – I’ve never been in love before. I think when we started to stop hating each other, a friendship took root but it was so slow and gradual.
Was there a definite point that you can identify where you yielded to love and decided to let any remaining hatred towards Eva be washed away by that love?
When I heard her laugh for the first time and it wasn’t that evil laugh I heard when my mama was killed. When I saw what that evil father of hers did to her. She was more of a prisoner than I ever would be and I felt sorry for her. That’s when my hatred turned to friendship and then it was a slow progression to love.
Let’s talk about Eva a bit more – When you think of Eva, what comes into your mind?
My favorite subject. A quiet strength with a bottomless pit of courage. Evy (that’s my nickname for her) doesn’t make a lot of noise. It’s not her style to raise her voice or to be overly dramatic. She’s the most courageous person I have ever met. She has suffered much; she comes from a family of crazy people – not good crazy but bad crazy. They are evil people except for her Uncle Wilbur. How he missed the Muller curse is a mystery to me. Being tortured for who you are is horrible but being tortured by your own family? That’s just evil. Eva has no control over being a lesbian. She has as much control over that as she has being over six feet or having blue eyes. Her family are just crazy evil beasts. I hate them passionately. They used electric shocks to try and change who she is. She’s not an animal and I wouldn’t do that to an animal. It’s demonic.
It’s obvious they didn’t succeed since you’re with Eva now, right?
They did succeed. Have you met anyone who has undergone aversion therapy? It takes a terrible toll on their mind and body. Being shocked with electricity because you think a woman is beautiful or you want to kiss her? That’s inhuman but then those crazy Nazis were an inhuman lot. That’s what Eva had to contend with. It took her two years to overcome the damage done to her. That was only because Dr Hannah was there to help her otherwise Evy wouldn’t be able to kiss me without collapsing in a heap. What a despicable thing to do to another human being. I will never forgive her family for doing that. Evy has but I won’t.
What makes you laugh out loud?
My wife laughing. That’s the best sound in the world and I can’t help but laugh. She’s got such a beautiful soul. The other thing that makes me laugh is when she tries to cook. She’s terrible at it but she tries. It’s okay if I laugh; she laughs along with me.
You have a motorcycle but you no longer ride, are you ever going to ride a motorcycle again?
I would like to but after I got knocked down by that speeding car, Evy gives Mabel, my motorcycle, the evil eye. She worries so I decided to stop riding. I miss it but it keeps Evy from worrying and that’s the main thing. When I had my accident, Evy was helpless – she wasn’t even allowed to know how I was. My friend Earl told me it was the first time he had seen Evy angry. Really angry and that is so rare for Eva to lose control of her emotions. I don’t blame her, I would have been yelling so loudly, they would have heard me all over the hospital. I don’t want to put her through that again.
When you think of home, what’s your favourite memory?
Sitting on the riverbank and drawing while my brothers were swimming. We were roasting a lamb on the spit. That was such a great day. It was on my birthday in 1939.
What is the best Christmas present you have given to Eva?
I gave her unconditional love. That’s the best present anyone give someone. We were poor refugees and giving love doesn’t require money or any wealth. So I gave her unconditional love.
What’s next for Zoe Lambros?
Evy and I are going back to Greece and Germany. Stupid Greek government wants everyone who owned land to come and reclaim it. I don’t want to go but Evy doesn’t want me to lose my inheritance. I don’t really care because I have everything I need. She won’t relent on that so I made her a deal. I’ll go to Larissa if she goes to Germany. Her mama is buried in Berlin and she didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. I want to give her that chance. I said goodbye to my mama. It’s going to be tough on her but we will get through it. We always do but this will be hard.
This interview appeared on esterdaydaugher.blogspot.com but the site has been removed